Recently I came across an article titled “How to dress for an interview”. The article was no doubt excellent and very informative but one section of the article rang bells in my ears. Well, it had clearly distinguished shirt and trousers from kurtapajamas calling the former as “formal dress” while the latter as “traditional dress” and thereby declaring it as “not appropriate” for an interview or any formal meeting. Though this has been the norm ever since I was born, I am yet to figure out why the “corporate wardrobe” doesn’t include Indian wear. Why is it just a “costume” for specific occasions and not a regular clothing?
Why can’t we wear kurta pyjama at interview? Even women have the privilege of wearing saree and salwar kameez at work or while appearing for interviews. In India, the saree is always invoguebut where is Indian wear for men? Men de rigueur wear only shirts and trousers and unfortunately this outfit is not at all Indian but a foreign adaptation just like our car, our mobile phones, our cosmetics so on and so forth.
Look around, staff after staff is bereft of Indian attire. In this contemporary age of industry and entrepreneurship, Indian attire is rarely seen since they botched, or we botched, in making them office wear, formal wear or everyday wear.
We wear Indian attires for festivals, weddings and even at a funeral but in the office or while going to meetings and interview we do not dress in Indian clothes. Even if some office going women in semi-urban or rural areas can be seen wearing sarees or salwar kameez, men are not. The ‘unofficial’ dress code to attend an interview for a job in big city is always the Western wear. Have you ever spotted a man wearing a kurtapyjama to an interview for a job with any company? Forget the multinationals, men go suited-booted to any interview with any XYZ company.
Poignant demise of kurta pyjama or shall I say Indianess? There was India, with all its exceptional textiles encompassing unique textures and colors. No one in the world was wearing that and now we can’t even wear our once so distinctive dress while going for a very important day of our career. Sad!
Not long ago the women and child department of the Haryana government directed its staff to abstain from wearing jeans and T-shirts at work. The subject matter of this circular went like this: “To wear decent clothes in office”. That really makes one wonder, “Are jeans and T-shirt indecent?” The circular was mainly addressed to the field staff stating, “It has been observed that some officers/officials come to office in jeans/T-shirts/Western dresses which sometimes not only look odd but are also in contravention of government rules.”
Oh! The issue seems to be the “western outfit” then why not ask the employees to wear kurta pyjamas? They are decent enough, right? Covers the entire legs just like a pant and entire arm just like a full sleeve shirt, right? Even then why can’t we wear Indian dresses to work? Why don’t news anchors, for instance, wear Kurta pajamas instead of suits?
Indian attires seem to be just a costume limited to specific days on news channels. Udayan Mukherjee, the frontage of the share markets, adorns impressive bandhgalas only on mahurat trading and not otherwise. The dresses of the news anchors have an effect on the viewers as much as the news. If a top anchor is seen wearing kurta pyjama while presenting the daily news almost on a regular basis, it will bring in a change in the perception of the masses towards Indian dresses.
Why is kurta pyjama limited to religious ceremonies only? We pull out our traditional Indian dress from the corner of our closets only on Holi, Diwali, Dasshera or other festive occasions. We never ‘dare’ to wear them to an interview or a formal event. Why can’t one wear a kurta pyjama to a board meeting or interview? Why is it not included in the “corporate wardrobe”?
Do you think we look serious and committed wearing shirts and trousers while not so sophisticated in kurta pyjamas? Is it the same India which once boycotted foreign goods and wanted to be independent from outsiders but now feels ashamed to include Indian dress in its corporate dress code.